The scone market is worth more than £64million in the UK. That’s a lot of dough.
My mother, it seems, was ahead of her time. If we ran out of bread, she baked scones late at night. An occasional treat before bed worth waiting up for. It would begin with an instruction to turn the oven up high. Then the flour, butter, a pinch of salt and sugar were measured and poured in quantities known only to her.
Plain flour, not self-raising, to keep the scones soft. Raising agents were levelled carefully with a knife, a role assigned to me as I grew older. A well of egg and milk and the mixture is bound together with the lightest of touches. It’s a recipe known by heart passed on by my grandmother.
Cold hands make the best scones, she would impress on me, time and time again as the dough was rolled flat on a table dusted with flour.
A swift press of the cutter half a dozen times and they were gone. Taken out swiftly by fingers that were accustomed to hot ovens.The kettle was switched on and the scones sliced up, butter disappearing into the crumbly warmth. Sometimes they were brought to our bedside if the waiting proved too much for tired eyes.
Occasionally they were cooked in a heavy pan on the top of the oven, growing puffy and brown as my mother busied herself with the day’s duties.
The next morning, they would be wrapped tight in a tea towel ready to be toasted or fried for breakfast with a runny egg on top.
Now when she brings me a bundle from home, still wrapped in a tea towel, I marvel not only about how good they taste but of the fingers and hands that have made them with love.